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LETTER: Transparency Needed in Gov. Ige’s DOT Leadership

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***Editor’s note: This letter was submitted on Nov. 8, prior to Governor-elect David Ige’s announcement that Ford Fuchigami would return to his DOT leadership position.***

I’m a concerned citizen, who closely follows county and state highway projects on the Big Island. I believe its important to monitor these new projects, especially since the State and county are using taxpayer dollars to build these new highways. This is why I’ve spent so much of my free time being a community transportation advocate.

The centralized Oahu Hawai’i Department of Transportation leadership, along with the Federal Highways Administration, has treated people like myself as enemies of the state. I’ve had to jump through hoops to get any updates through alternative means over the past four years as a result. These departments really need to embrace the public’s participation and be more transparent.

Soon-to-be Governor David Ige promised to conduct his administration in a more transparent fashion. However, this is only part of the solution to the issues facing the HDOT. Governor Abercrombie’s HDOT appointees had no leadership and public relation skills. This has to change under Governor Ige’s watch. The HDOT needs strong leadership to push several stalled projects, such as the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening phase 2 and the final east side Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase, forward.

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I hope Governor Ige fulfills his campaign promises, as Hawai’i can’t afford four more years of spinning its wheels.

Aaron Stene

Kailua-Kona

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